A note from Sage Millen
As you probably know, this year is Stone Soup’s 50th anniversary. Because Stone Soup has been such an important part of my life over the past five years (I was a frequent contributor and am now an intern), I wanted to do my part to ensure this wonderful organization has the resources to keep going for another fifty years. So, in about November of 2022, I started brainstorming fundraising ideas with my mom. We settled on a silent auction. My family had held two successful auctions in the past to raise money for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Not only did the events raise money, they were also really fun.
To start, I picked a date several months away so I would have time to plan everything. Then, I sent out an email to almost everyone my parents and I know, explaining my initiative and asking for donations of handmade items we could sell at the auction. I also made several items to contribute, such as some cards with my photos on them, a loom-knitted toque, and some jewelry. I was very lucky to have such an artistic and generous circle of friends, because I received over fifty items!
The next step was to create auction sheets; these include a photo and description of each item as well as the person who donated it, and space for bidders to fill in their bid amount and contact information. Before the event, I shared this document with everyone we had invited so those who couldn’t attend in person still had a chance to bid. The night before the auction, I closed access to the document; the online bidding was over. Then, I helped prepare our house for the auction by cleaning and setting up the items on tables and mantelpieces—even the piano. My mom and my nana made a variety of treats and snacks for guests to enjoy.
Finally, people started arriving. I walked them around the house, showing them the various items, including knitted caps, weavings, paintings, baked goods, books, and even services such as gardening and pet photoshoots. We also set up a stand of Stone Soup issues by the door so people could see what their money was going towards. Soon, our house began to fill with people chatting and making bids, while my dad played soft music in the background.
After an hour and a half, we ended the auction. People gave us the bidding sheets for the items they’d won along with payment and we gave them their item.
Overall, we raised $1,748 CAD! That’s a much higher sum than what I was hoping for, so I’m very proud of the result. I also had multiple people tell me what a fun event it was, and how they were excited to learn about Stone Soup and would be introducing it to the young people in their lives.
I had a great time hosting the auction, and I would recommend a similar project to anyone who wants to raise money for Stone Soup, or any other cause in your life in a fun way. However, it does take a lot of work—I was very lucky that my parents (especially my mom) helped me a lot with the process. Luckily, there are many other ways to raise money that also require less planning—there’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned lemonade stand!
I wish you the best of luck in your future philanthropic endeavors.
A note from Emma Wood
On behalf of the whole Stone Soup team, thank you, Sage! We are grateful for the work you put into this auction and the money you raised for Stone Soup, but also incredibly proud of you. This is what Stone Soup is about: empowering youth to act now. To all the young people reading this, know that you can do things that matter now. You don’t have to wait until you’re out of college to publish your writing, to write a book, to have an exhibit for your artwork, to raise money for causes you believe in, to start organizations or a literary magazine; you can do that all now. We believe in you, and we are here to support you.
On that note, I am really excited to share a project that my colleagues and I have been working on since January. We have been tracking down and interviewing historical contributors to the magazine—contributors who are now grown up. Until a few years ago, submissions were received via snail mail, and no emails were collected. And, for much of Stone Soup’s now-fifty-year history, personal email didn’t even exist! In the intervening years, many of these former contributors have married and changed their names, moved cities or states, and pursued professions outside of the arts. So you can imagine this was quite a challenging project. It is still ongoing.
However, we have been able to connect with a number of former contributors, whom I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing about what Stone Soup meant to them and about what they’re up to now. These interviews have confirmed that Stone Soup has truly been succeeding in its mission to instill confidence and authority in young people, and that a Stone Soup publication is something many carry with them throughout their lives—in many cases literally as well as figuratively. I spoke with one former contributor from the 1970s who still had her original issues of Stone Soup!
My colleague Tayleigh is publishing the interviews on Instagram and Facebook—they are truly inspiring, and I encourage you to check them out, and to follow us on social media so you can continue to see these inspiring interviews as we post them. I encourage you to also be sure to read the captions, which include more of each interview.
Hope to see you later today at our Open House and Giveaway!
A gift from us to you: half off annual print subscriptions!
We wouldn't be celebrating fifty years of Stone Soup were it not for all of our wonderful supporters like you. Thank you! As a small token of our gratitude, we're offering half off annual print subscriptions for the entire month of May. Use code happy50 at checkout and read the magazine 100% written and illustrated by kids since 1973.
Celebrate Stone Soup's 50th Anniversary with us!
It's our 50th anniversary! Join us today at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time at our virtual Open House and Giveaway for an update on the company from Editor in Chief and Executive Director, Emma Wood, readings from recent magazine contributors, and an open discussion about what Stone Soup has meant to you and your family or classroom. We hope to see you there.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.